Long before Michael Crichton's high-tech dinosaurs roamed the bestseller lists, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle envisioned an isolated land of prehistoric life that exists in the 20th century. In Conan Doyle's Lost World (1912) young newspaper journalist Edward Malone is in search of an assignment involving "adventure and danger," since his beloved Gladys has refused his marriage proposal on the grounds that he's not "a man of great deeds and strange experiences." Enter Professor Challenger, an impetuous man who claims to have spotted a pterodactyl deep in the Amazon jungle. When the professor offers to lead skeptics on an expedition to this "lost world," Malone signs up for the trip of a lifetime. Infused with the same masterful dialogue, suspense, and characterizations as Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes tales, The Lost World is a spirited science fiction novel filled with dinosaurs and ape-men, and a story that's obviously still firing imaginations today.
Forget the Michael Crichton book (and Spielberg movie) that copied the title. This is the original: the terror-adventure tale of The Lost World. Writing not long after dinosaurs first invaded the popular imagination, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle spins a yarn about an expedition of two scientists, a big-game hunter, and a journalist (the narrator) to a volcanic plateau high over the vast Amazon rain forest. The bickering of the professors (a type Doyle knew well from his medical training) serves as witty contrast to the wonders of flora and fauna they encounter, building toward a dramatic moonlit chase scene with a Tyrannosaurus Rex. And the character of Professor George E. Challenger is second only to Sherlock Holmes in the outrageous force of his personality: he's a big man with an even bigger ego, and if you can grit your teeth through his racist behavior toward Native Americans, he's a lot of fun.